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Subject: The Dark Valley AAR #3 Turn 1, Part 2 (T1 R3-7) rss

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Chris Buhl
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This is part 1 of my third AAR for The Dark Valley. Part 1 is right here. I said I would solo the game until I “either a) decide I've screwed it up enough that I need to start over; b) get a good PBEM game rolling and decide to learn a new game instead of keep this going, or; c) conquer the world!” By the end of turn 1 I'd achieved Case a in stunning fashion. The second try never really got off the ground.

I will try to apply the lessons I learned in the first try, and some feedback I've received since about strategy, to the early German turns in this game, hoping to at least avoid having Russian infantry show up in Western Poland in 1941 and make the air bases and supply depots all bug out. Hopefully this game will last long enough to get a better sense of how the chit pull variability affects things. Using Vassal instead of the table setup should help me keep things flowing more easily as well.

The Germans made what I think is reasonably good, although not magnificent, progress in their initial attacks. The next chit pulled was 1st Panzer, Army Group South's mobile headquarters. AGS had made probably the best initial progress, and would look to improve on that now.




By the time 1st Panzer completed its activation (move then combat), it had driven deep into the rear area, putting a great number of Soviet forces from the Kiev Military District far behind friendly lines. Also, they were in a position to support the inevitable incursions by Axis forces out of Romania.

The Russians next organized a Counter Attack. German command had done a good job of pinning Russian forces in place across most of the front. Despite Comrade Stalin's insistence that at least 8 counter attacks be launched, the Red Army managed only 4. They inflicted minor damage in some places, but overall created no change in the situation.

Reacting quickly to the Russian attempts to break out, 3rd Panzer HQ leaped into the fray. Sadly, German photo reconnaissance aircraft were lost in a freak storm (I failed to save a screen shot for 3rd Panzers activation). The southern arm of Army Group Center was able to use combat-move to breach Soviet forces on the north-south axis from Brest Litovsk and send mobile units on the road to Minsk, waiting for a link-up with their fellows from 2nd Panzer.

Seeing how things were developing, the Russians, after drawing a Move chit, decided to pull back where ever possible.




Although any defense of Leningrad will have to come from forces farther to the east, the Russians did manage to create a large garrison in Kaunas, which should slow the Germans down somewhat. In the south (again no screen shot, sorry) it is more of an every man for himself situation, with forces trying to garrison key rail junctions in Zhitomir and Vinnitsa.

The next chit pulled was Logistics.




Surviving Soviet forces in the north have largely escaped isolation.




In the South, many Soviet units will face starvation.

So this is the situation after the first seven rounds of turn 1. Two more German HQ's will activate, both in the North of Russia. With nothing to compare this to, I wonder how the Germans are faring at this point. It seems to me they have made fairly good progress, and have managed to isolated Soviet forces into smallish pockets in the South. In the North, not many Russian units are isolated, but not many survive. The Russian strong point at Kaunas can probably be bypassed if need be.

At this point, one thing I'm finding very interesting about this game is the lack of any type of “exploitation movement” mechanic. That is covered by the various Pz HQ chits and the “Move/Attack” chit, of course. It forces a different thought process than the other Eastern Front games I've played. I find myself scrutinizing positions and possible positions, trying to imagine several possible outcomes, and then of course the next chit gets pulled! Sometimes that is in keeping with my plans, sometimes it blows them out of the water. All the time, it is exciting.
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ted raicer
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My main concern for the Axis is the failure to clear rail lines for the advance of depots (such as Lvov) which is more important on turn 1 than advancing as far east as possible (though ideally you want to do both). You don't need to clear the line for every depot, but at least for some of them. You could still use bombardment to try and clear the line through Kowel. (Bombarding Lvov won't work, not simply because as a city (even without a City Defense marker it remains a city for bombardment) it is harder to bombard, but because it is still a city for ZOC purposes as well, so eliminating the unit won't change who owns it. (It is only a Town for combat purposes.) Remember depot advance takes place BEFORE attrition.

Ted
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Chris Buhl
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Thanks for this feedback Ted. I couldn't decide if I thought I should focus on that initially, or on encircling the Russians. I thought that I'd be able to keep the depots caught up if I waited a turn, but I'm looking at the map after reading your post and thinking that was a mistake. At least (as will be seen in future postings) I did manage to move some of them up.
 
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